Yesterday, I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, scissors poised.
Finally, I found the strength to put the scissors down, and I backed away from the bathroom vanity slowly. I am 17 weeks into my second pregnancy. The half-way mark is just around the bend, and you know what that means.
It means that for the rest of this pregnancy, I am going to have to fight the irresistible urge to cut my bangs again.
I have had bangs before. This is how I know that they are deceitful harpies, luring you with promises that they don’t intend to keep and hopes that they will crush at last.
When I don’t have bangs, I imagine that having them is going to magically alter the texture and color of my hair, give me access to a Hollywood stylist, and morph my face into that of Zooey Deschanel, who I don’t resemble in the slightest, even when I’m not pregnant.
(This is not unlike when I was going through my short hair phase and went in expecting to come out looking like Anne Hathaway but ended up looking like an early-90s news anchor.)
Pregnancy is a time, more so than any other, when a woman is tempted to alter her appearance in some way to break the monotony of inexorable weight gain and emotional fatigue. It’s even been recommended by People On The Internet that pregnant women not make drastic hairstyle changes, because the hormones make them irrational and they make decisions they later regret.
This advice comes across as patronizing and vaguely insulting, and yet, experience has taught me not to argue with its wisdom.
For pregnant me, bangs is my Achilles’ Heel. Bangs come to me in the long afternoons, whispering sweet things in my ears.
“Bangs will turn your puffy face into the chiseled visage of a Greek goddess.”
“Bangs will create an optical illusion which will cause you to appear to be a size two and also not pregnant.”
“Bangs will harness the energy of the universe and make you one with the Force.”
It’s only when I actually have bangs that I remember what it’s really like.
It’s only when I have bangs that I remember the inconvenient truth that I’m the kind of person who associates the term “blow-out” with fecal catastrophe before I associate it with a hairdryer.
It’s only when I have bangs that I remember that within four hours of washing and styling them, they are going to look like stringy, greasy spider legs growing limply out of my forehead.
It’s only when I have bangs that I remember that I do not, in fact, look anything like Zooey Deschanel, and neither do my bangs.
Then begins the long, aggravating process of growing them out again. By the time they are finally grown out, I have once again forgotten all of this, and the cycle begins again.
“This time it will be different.”
“I just need a change.”
It won’t be different. I might need a change, but bangs is not the answer. Bangs is never the answer.
I don’t know if I can do this for another 23 weeks.
I now know there are steps I can take to change how I think, to find the true me again. That is why I am going to take better care of myself this year. In fact, that’s the only resolution I care to make. For both my own health, and as an important example to my kids, this year, I'm resolving to practice a kindness that starts from within.